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Dear Chump Lady, How do I co-parent with an addict?

drunkHi Chump Lady,

I was wondering if you have any advice for women who’ve endured the triple whammy of their marriages being blown apart by an affair partner, addiction (a second affair partner), and then having to suffer through 50/50 custody with said addict asshole because the court system seems to take a “wait and see” approach when it comes to your kids lives?

I always knew something was up with my ex and the mail lady, but he swore he barely knew her. When I filed for divorce and full custody because my ex is an addict and FREAKING INSANE, he collected statements from his enabling family and the mail lady who, it seems, he did know very well, and whose kids “enjoy his company”. Barf.

It took everything in me not to walk into our post office and request that someone else handle my mail, because she is so very whorey, and I’m afraid she may be brewing some new form of STD that can be transferred by touch.

Back to what I was saying…

Any words of advice for those like me, for whom addiction was an even worse mistress? And who were failed by the court system? I know, document everything. I do. And I know he will be caught eventually. It’s just the waiting. I hate it.

Thanks.

Clare

Dear Clare,

Wow. That really is a triple-decker shit sandwich you’ve got there. I’m not answering your letter because I’ve got some super terrific advice here. But because it’s likely some folks in Chump Nation can commiserate and strategize with you. If I had a magic wand that would make selfish, checked out addicts sober responsible people? I’d be a full-time fairy godmother superhero — and trust me, I’ve got my own list of addicted fuckwits I’d like to personally zap.

Back to your question — document. Oh, I know you already know that, but DOCUMENT. Custody decisions are based on the best interests of the children, so everything you document has to be seen through that lens.

Good documentation: Because Fuckwit was sleeping off his bender, Mary missed the school play.

Bad documentation: Fuckwit is a terrible parent! He parties with Whorey Mail Mistress!

Chumps are always parenting against the prevailing wisdom of Never Say Anything Bad About the Other Parent Because It Damages the Children. Any editorializing (she’s a whore! he’s a worthless drunk!) will get you cast as bitter and alienating. You’ll be seen as someone with a grudge and an agenda.

Is this fair? No, of course it isn’t. Go scream into a pillow at the injustice. Now return your attention to documentation. Some pointers:

1.) Don’t just document all the crap he does — document WHAT YOU DO. As I’ve said here before you can’t co- anything with a narcissist. I know a hundred people are going to write me and say addicts are suffering from disease — okay. WTFever. It’s a “disease” that makes them treat everyone around them like shit. Unless they want something, and then they manipulate like champs. No one knows impression management like an addict. These people prefer substances to substance. Bottles have no needs. Opiates always understand. You, the little people, will have to pick up the slack.

Things are always lopsided with addicts and cheaters. Their attention is directed elsewhere. They don’t have a lot to give. They will project their entitlement as totally normal. They will weave a thousand lies about how accomplished they are, how functional, How Much They Give!

The truth? You’re doing it all. You’re investing the time. You’re picking up the slack. The power is in those details. YOU show up. You sew the costume. You do the book reports. You make sure there is money on the lunch card. You stay home with the sick kid. All of that adds up and demonstrates the addict’s deficit. These fuckers don’t do responsibility. They do chaos. Show your value. Document how much you do.

2.) Document with specific details how the addiction affects your children. The missed school play. Junior shows signs of neglect and has worn the same outfit to school for four straight days. Taylor complains of stomach aches after she spends time with Dad. Bobby was left in a locked car. If ANYTHING shows immediate harm to those kids? Get an emergency injunction. Meanwhile, build the case of how the addiction results in neglect (or danger) and hurts the kids.

Short of immediate harm, your narrative to the court cannot be one of anger and frustration at the addict. (See pillow screaming above.) Your narrative is one of dilemma — how to balance the children’s right to have a loving relationship with Fuckwit against your concern about the fuckwit’s addiction. (Don’t say fuckwit. Say sad sausage. No, say Bob, or whatever his name is.)

You aren’t bitter with an agenda to protect your kids (you horrible woman!) — you’re a concerned loving former partner who just wants the best for everyone.

Look, I know anyone endangering your children makes you want to rip their spleen out with a rusty set of pliers, but for the court? You recognize the humanity of the addict. It’s all Very Sad.

3.) Keep lines of communication open with kids. You don’t mention their ages, but at whatever age they can manage a cell phone? Get them one. Let them know they can always reach you.

4.) Don’t raise them to be chumps. Get the kids therapy, go to Al-Anon, school counselors — surround them with as many healthy adults as you can who will model what it is to be sane and loving. Don’t let them make their needs tiny so as not to upset the addict. Help them manage their expectations with this person. Teach them that it’s okay to reach out for help. It’s okay to voice needs. In short, don’t let them grow up to be co-dependent chumps who think chaos and entitlement is normal. It’s not. It’s toxic. That shit should never feel normal.

Addicts surround themselves with enablers. So while you’re defogging the kids, defog yourself. Enablers will act like the chaos is normal. Nothing to see here, move on! They will ardently defend the addict and keep the sad sausage from consequences. Remember, that’s about them. Try not to take it personally. Just stay clear on your sane parent duties. And document, document, document. Sorry. I hope you get your day in court soon.

 

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  • As a kid who survived a childhood with an alcoholic mom, I give Clare props for trying. My sober parent was a narc and looked the other way because admitting that his SAHM wife was drunk every day would have messed up his universe.

    I survived by escaping right after I turned 17 and running off to Nursing School and it kinda worked out for me.

    Mom is still alive but drank herself into dementia. CLs comments here: “They will weave a thousand lies about how accomplished they are, how functional, How Much They Give!” boy howdy…you should hear her now tell of how hard she worked (no) and sacrificed (no, no) for me. The bonus is that she is much nicer now that she is demented.

    Clare, Im so sorry you are here, but your kids might really turn out OK…I didnt have a “sane parent” and I still did ok. Your kids can flourish even if they have to trudge through some mud…keep fighting for them.

    • Unicornomore
      You are one heck of a person. You are awesome. You imo did more then ok. I have a unicornomore crush.

    • Unicorn no more, I too left home at 17 to escape a bipolar mother and an alcoholic father (I didn’t know he was an alcoholic at the time). But being the eldest daughter, my narc father fully expected me to perforn the parental duties for my Mother and take care of my younger 3 siblings (she would go to bed for months at a time) including my 7 year old developmentally disabled brother. I ran for my life. I finished high school a year early, and fell under Gaslighter’s spell at 19. He was 27 and seemed like Prince Charming. 38 years later I realized he was Prince Harming. He too is a “functioning” alcoholic Cluster B. Kinda makes sense why I was so vulnerable…

      • Cluster B and addiction to hand in hand.
        As for the original question regardingcustody disputes when the cheater is so fucked up,ask a lot of the betrayed guys what they faced. You want custody bias? Men have been facing this forever.

      • Chump Change, yes…compared to my mom, the nowdeadspouse was a veritable breath of mentally healthy fresh air…it was a long time of endless no-win situations before the mask slipped.

        • Wow, isn’t that the truth. Gaslighter kept his mask 95% on for decades. The times it slipped, I was so preconditioned to “start today as a new day”, or “we don’t have to talk about THAT again do we?” that I had no idea ho abusive he was. Fortunately, by the time we split up our youngest was in high school. There was no custody issue. I feel so much empathy for the Chumps that have to coparent with these monsters with no help from the legal system. It’s hard enough for me when I know one of my boys is even having dinner with him and Schmoopie as adults… I can’t imagine dealing with little ones and losing time with them.

  • I’m confused about the addict thing… the addiction was him having the second mistress and she referred to alcohol in another, unpublished part of the letter? What is he addicted to?

    • I think she was saying there were two “affair partners” — one being another woman, and one being alcohol. I had to re-read that sentence a few times too so I could be wrong, just conjecturing!

  • A friend of mine who is a part-time rock star groupie explained it to me like this, since she had so much experience dealing with musicians and their addictions: When you’re in a relationship with someone who has a chemical dependency, you’re automatically The Other Person (OW/OM). Why? Because their primary relationship is with the drug. So you were never the primary partner. Whatever their addiction, you’ll never be any more than the OW/OM. Knowing this gave me an invaluable perspective on dealing with addicts.

      • And having read the comments up to 12:45 p.m., I encourage everyone to read it all. There is some powerful stuff in the comments. Thanks, CL, for providing this tremendous learning opportunity. I’m not dealing with any of this stuff just now, but really everything we talk about here is about learning how to live authentically, how to sort out “conventional wisdom” and “what society says” from real wisdom.

  • I sooooo feel the pain of the “wait and see” family law approach. It is the worst fucking thing in the world. Let a person who I know drives drunk every single night of the week drive my kid around every other weekend? Yes, because he hasn’t killed the child in a drunk driving accident….yet. You have to wait until *after* the accident occurs to prove he’s a risky bastard. The logic behind it boils my blood. But this post is SO practical and helpful. It’s very hard to stay focused on information the court will be interested in hearing, when our culture and all your friends and family who know the addict push you to be outraged and horrified and Not Allow This To Go On. Unfortunately, ranting and raving doesn’t win you points in court and doesn’t help you prove WHY the person is dangerous.

    Remind yourself: there are a lot of healthy adults walking around on this planet right now because when they were little, their sane parent documented well and raised concerns with lawyers / courts / guardians ad litem / etc. You can document every infraction, large or small, and the effect it has. You can show how irresponsibility and disengagement accumulates. All you have to do is get into your notebook / spreadsheet / bulleted lists and tell the truth. (Well, you also need luck. Here’s hoping the judge in your local family court isn’t also an enabling addict who things to himself, ‘Eh, what’s a pre-car-ride pint of whisky or two between friends?’)

    • chump-tastic,

      I bow to your response. Written with poise and heart. One must live the “trifecta of fuck” to truly understand – and you my dear, understand.

      I am also living the same hell. I told a special person this morning that I am tired – emotionally and physically tired. I was dealing with GAL most of the day yesterday. I am so perplexed by her enablement of my ex-wife..

      Here is an example: Last Wed I was awarded full custody. The exw had visitation that same Wed from 3pm-7pm. So exw blows of the kids – again – to go on an alcohol driven bender. Exw get her enabling mom to pick up kids at 3pm to stay with them until 7pm. Somewhere before 5pm (2 hrs before visitation is over) I get a text from my son….

      Son: ”Dad we are home”
      Me: “Why are you home, you are supposed to be with mom”
      Son: “ IDK, grandma just dropped us off here.
      Me: “I will be home right away”

      So I cancelled my business appointment and came home. My kids were frustrated and hungry, but that is another story.

      So to the point….The real issue is why was the kids dropped off at my doorstep with NOBODY telling me, 2 hrs before her scheduled visitation ended? These are the parties that that question was asked to and their response.

      Exw: “I hadd to” – Nothing more than that…. and whatever the fuck that means
      Exw Mom/Grandma: Crickets, no response at all.
      My Attorney: “I will contact GAL and inform her.”
      GAL: She responded this to my attorney….”Exw was at her attorney at that time and her attorney confirms this”
      My Attorney: To GAL, “Seems odd that Exw didn’t show up in court today, but yet she was able to see her attorney.” – Then he asked GAL, “regardless of what exw was doing, why were the kids dropped off on SCaL’s doorstep 2 hrs prior to visitation was over with NO knowledge on his part”
      GAL: Crickets, no response.

      I also asked that same question to GAL and she hasn’t responded yet to me either.

      The reason I was having to deal with GAL is because some how – some way – the exw was able to get another court date next year so we can do all this over again . You can see that the court system just blows. Frustrating is an understatement. And GAL recommended 50/50. Fucking joke!

      GAL is one of those believers, that are more concerned with the rights of the abuser than the victim/s themselves. It is so obvious seeing this. It’s hate these types!!

      My post below has all the gory details.

      • argh, excuse me for not “getting” the american acronyms: what is GAL? How am I suppose to know what it means? The world revolves around the Sun, not USA…

        • “Guardian ad Litem”.

          Basically, is a lawyer for your child, may be appointed by the court. The guardian ad litem typically interviews the child, parents, are others involved in the case. The guardian ad litem then reports back to the judge about their observations and opinions, often making a recommendation to the judge as to who should have custody.

        • We’re all on the same side; no need to imply SCaL, or any of us state-side, think the sun revolves around the US, Stay enraged at the right things.

      • If I recall correctly Sure you’re in Cook County? As one going through this circus for a second time, you have my deepest sympathies.

      • SureChumpedAlot,

        Holy cow! you sound so nice and sane. Ive negotiated similar without the GAL. My hat is off to your strength and fortitude.

      • SureChumpedALot, I *always* bow to your posts! So I cherish any bow from you!

        Your story kills me. I was lucky to have a pretty normal-seeming GAL who absolutely affirmed that there was no question my home was the better environment for a kid to be in, but she agreed with my lawyer that unfortunately, without any harm having *already* come to the child or some previous conviction on my STBX’s record, the court would likely not withhold visitation from him. She appreciated my copious documentation and encouraged me to continue documenting and to contact her if there were any further developments down the road. I’m really glad that my lawyer and GAL were honest with me about how the family courts work, and gave me the straight poop. If I had fought him not to get any visitation (or supervised only), he may have asked for 50/50 time (instead of being happy with the 13% time he has now) and ended up getting 50/50, depending on the judge and what mood they were in and what they had for lunch and whether they also totally love guzzling craft beers and smoking a hundred cigars. ?

        I already felt so helpless throughout the process, knowing that I would have to wait for my child to get hurt before I had any ammunition to truly fight with. I can’t imagine also having a GAL that was so biased and determined to ignore basic fucking documentation. :\ My heart hurts for you. I’m so glad that at least the judge was vigilant and actually took your examples seriously.

        I really hope the next day in court goes well for you. Are you going to be documenting this and updating CN about it regularly? I would love to follow your story. I may end up in court again too eventually. Thanksgiving week, my ex showed up stone drunk to pick up my kid for holiday visitation. I offered a breathalyzer as a courtesy, and he refused to take it, then snatched the kid and sped off with her while I was grabbing my laptop to pull up the court order to show him. I called 911 and the police weren’t able to find him until he came “home” (to his girlfriend’s house, where my toddler spends every other weekend) later that night. But they did confirm that my child was safe and contacted me back to let me know that. What a night. My lawyer says I was right to call 911 and right to document this stuff. And I mean. What the heck else are you supposed to do when someone (anyone!) who reeeeeeks of alcohol breath shows up to drive your kid around? Any normal parent would be like “lol nope!” If it happens again we will likely have go back to court. FUN. I wish he would just…like…NOT be drunk on the few nights a month he has to pick her up.

      • This is so true. I went through it years ago. My daughter suffered and so did I. Her father is sane today and clean from drugs but it was a long long 20 year horror. I tried lawyers, changed a few times, counseling, church on my knees praying constantly. The documenting was impossible. He covered up every move with his enablers. Now my daughter is parenting with a real self absorbed addict trouble maker narcissistic enabled fool. I feel my daughter going through the growing up with addict father attributed to all this.
        I am praying this stops. I appreciate your post! Only someone having to deal with this type of “thing” could put it into those words. The ” you ll have to prove the father is using drugs” scenario, lawyers telling me “I should quit whining”. It was hell! Thank you! We are not going to court at this time as my experience was hell. I totally understand the waiting .

    • I can only sympathize. Child Protective Services was called by officials at my children’s school due to safety concerns witnessed by school officials in regard to their father (I suspect drug use was at the root of the problem that day). As is normal in such cases, I was investigated, as was the jackass. The nice, but not particularly reassuring, CPS officer told me after she was done with the home study:

      1) Unless someone can prove imminent harm or harm has occurred, we will do everything we can to avoid limiting a parent’s custodial rights. So, your EX will not lose parental rights at this point. We have recommended “services.”

      2) You are a strong and reliable parent, so we know your kids will not normally be in any danger (I had about 60% custody at the time). The system depends on you to intervene, not us.

      3) If you want to go to court and sue for full custody, I will testify on your behalf. But the law says you’ll have to subpoena me, so don’t be surprised if it is a long process.

      Keep documenting. My EX eventually lost all custody. Addiction leads to irresponsibility that simply cannot be spackled (at least once we stop doing it for them). But the fact that you must let the EX play Russian roulette with your child’s safety is enough to make you wonder about fleeing with the kids under the cover of night.

      Teach your kids to be safe–teach them to ask for help from teachers or other parents. This can be tough if the kids are old enough to feel torn about “tattling” on the parent that is drinking and driving, etc. If you can safely confide in teachers or other parents, let them know that you have concerns about EX drinking and driving and that you WANT them to call CPS or the police or you if they suspect a problem. Lots of people are wary of intervening–they don’t want to be busy bodies. You can probably only ask for this kind of help sparingly without looking like you are trying to slander the EX, but do it where you can.

      • I agree — as soon as your kids are old enough, teach them how to stay safe and how to assert themselves. I instructed my teens to call a trusted family member or another trusted adult friend if ever they were feeling that they were in a situation with their dad that was getting out of control. It scared the hell out me knowing that they had visitations alone with their alcoholic, narcissist father. After the divorce I wasn’t able to intervene and shield them from the BS. Alcoholics get worse/more erratic with age, too. I’m SO glad to be away from him. My kids are well-adjusted, successful young adults now and they don’t take any crap from their dad!

      • Family court is a complete joke. Best interests of the child is to be SAFE and SECURE– not out riding around with a damn drunk. My ex punched our three year old in the face when he was weaving all over the road and the blue lights came on. He took a swig of Listerine and told the officer that he was weaving because the two year old was having a temper tantrum- and he was hanging over the back seat trying to deal with her– of course she was– AFTER being punched in the face by her father! The witness to this fiasco? My nine year old SON. My dear ex did not get a DUI or endangering children that night…. My kids had to go through far worse before I could prove that his behavior was damaging them. We finally got free of him physically and he has responded by refusing to see his children or pay his child support and has RUINED me financially. While he accuses me to anyone who will listen and drink beer with him that I am guilty of parental alienation.
        Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Alcoholism goes hand in hand…. and you don’t want to be in family court fighting to protect your kids from one of these. It’s a life changing NIGHTMARE.

      • I commented below, I got carried away describing one incident my kids had to be put through but I would like to add here: My kids were blessed to be able to attend the Betty Ford Five Star Kids program, I cannot recommend it highly enough. One thing they teach the kiddo’s is to NEVER get in a car with an impaired parent. No matter how young they should have a cell phone. They can “play sick” and hide in a bathroom pretending to be sick and call a safe adult. It’s better to make someone angry than end up dead….

      • Eilonwy, I’m so sorry. This post makes me so angry, with the injustice of it all and the helplessness that sane parents are made to feel. I guess I’ll echo everyone else in encouraging you to call 911 any time this jerk is driving under the influence, and try to get him caught in the act. I’m glad your kid’s school is vigilant. Maybe with a few examples of this and witnesses from the school, you could get supervised visits only or at least get transportation taken away from him. I will be thinking about you.

    • Also, follow the bastard (or have someone you trust follow him –especially if he has kids Friday or Saturday), if he drives erratically call in an anonymous call to 911. Report him WHILE he is driving drunk. Cops come, there first call is CPS.

  • I too escaped before high school graduation (so weird to mail your parents an invitation – no they didn’t come) but I made it straight into another relationship just like my parents (YAY – not). But I knew I would not want to end up like my Mom and with the help of this web site I broke free. I broke NC with him this week due to son’s graduation and man o man is he still the same screwed up pod person. I am sorry you have to deal with your nightmare as you co-parent your kids but hang in there and know CN has your back. Follow CL’s advice and keep calm. One day you’ll reach the point where you truly NEVER have to contact the idiot AND you don’t want to either. Hugs.

  • Ask, no beg, demand, plead, whatever you have to do, but get your judge to order a custody study.

    You go through pretty intense psychological testing and evaluation alone and with your child, as does the other parent. Then the psychologist makes a recommendation to the court as an expert witness.

    Judges aren’t experts on family dynamics. Neither are attorneys. Especially attorneys. Those guys are all divorced.

    And crazy whack job addicts who have debilitating narcissism can’t fool psychologists who see these things every day.

    Custody study! Do it! It’s how I got sole custody.

    • I would not count on a psychologist to see the real person. Exasshole was quite capable of fooling every therapist and psychiatrist he went to and the MC as well. Even after pulled a gun and I got him committed he walked out of the hospital in 3 days. He knew exactly how to ‘show’ he was “responsible”. In this case he volunteered to go on Antabuse and said all the right things. My experience with the courts wasn’t very good either. Thankfully I had no children with exasshole.

      • I totally agree that some psychologists side with the cheaters. Especially in therapy. That’s how we got the whole “What did you do to make him/her cheat” angle.

        Custody studies are different. You spend about 8 hours behind a 2-way mirror being observed just interacting with your kid in a room.

        I had to take 4 psychological tests including an mmpi-2 and a Millon test. One assumes psychological normalcy. One assumes abnomalcy. I had to take an abuse indicator profile. We are talking over 4 hours of testing.

        I had to fill out about 100 pages of questionnaires and mail them in before the appointment. I had to provide my employee file at my job, medical records for me and my child, court records, the works. All in all, I provided enough paperwork to fit in a 3″ binder.

        Uncle Dad was supposed to do the same. He failed his tests because the tests are very sensitive to faking good and lying to try to provide the answers you think the tests wants you to provide. He didn’t return any of his paperwork. He totally omitted his child produced by the affair, which I had documented in my paperwork.

        When it came time for the psychologist to observe him with our daughter, he was “awkward” with her. He couldn’t name my daughter’s pediatrician. He said my daughter had a “normal” birth, when she was born 14 weeks premature and weighed just 1 lb, 6 oz. she wasn’t expected to live 72 hours.

        All of those things went against him in the custody study. The psychologist recommended supervised visitation. No overnight visits. The psych said I should enjoy sole legal and physical custody because I was the one taking care of the girls and paying for everything. The judge agreed. I got sole custody.

        Best $1,500 I’ve ever spent!

        • Kelli,

          I am glad that thinks went well for you in the custody evaluation: however, I urge caution in seeking custody evaluations. Based on accounts from relatives who work in the mental health field and the experiences of some chump friends as well as my own, custody evaluation is a dicey proposition.

          I have read on several sites that accurate, specific notes about the harmful behavior is key to getting the best outcome possible from the Court.

          One thing I would like to share with Clare and anyone else who is dealing with outrageous behavior: I find it helpful when I need to describe the outrageous situation/behavior to think of myself as a logical/neutral observer who is trying to protect the innocent and keep everyone healthy.

      • My STBX has an alcohol problem in addition to the cheating. His current girlfriend is a 24 year old graduate student in…ready for this? Mental health counseling.

        She knows that he walked out on his 20 year marriage when his wife was 6 months pregnant and that he fathered a child with another AP and has never even met that child.

        People see what they want to see. We chumps know that. But that also includes attorneys, judges, and GALs. Document the hell out of everything. Gather facts that cannot be disputed. It is your best hope.

    • My ex has 7 DUIs a hair follicle test that said he was a heavy drinker and custody evaluator still wants him to have 50/50 because he was able to remain sober for a year. The courts are completely unfair. We might impeach him and cross examine

  • Also there is an age when the kids can have a say in most states.

    I was lucky enough to get 70% custody BC my ex left them in a hot locked car. But I’ll frequently get more time by being “helpful.”

    Stay strong.

  • Get support from one mom’s battle and do it yourself family law. A custody eval is expensive….as a psychologist, I would definitely say psychologists can be fooled.

    • +1.
      As a psychotherapist a lot of the training was about having unconditional positive regard for clients, assuming that their desire and commitment to change for the better is genuine.
      Really not designed for personality disordered people, addicts or cheaters.

      • They all have an agenda with therapists and psychologists: convince them of how sensitive they are and how much everyone around them is a meanie.

          • I did not know about him until I came to your site. I read him and follow him a lot now.
            IMO he is one in a million. Most if not all therapists I have met, trained with, worked with or had therapy myself with do not possess the requisite skill level or knowledge base to work with personality disordered individuals UNLESS they have had personal experience of one. Not one therapist I saw for my FOO issues of growing up with a mother and her total lack of empathy and a narc father could even begin to understand what that meant. Their own personal bias was to try to ‘fix’ my relationships with them assuming this would mean I was ‘happier’. I could see the thought of ‘but this was your mother, I’m sure she loves you!’ floating behind their eyes. This was more victimisation as I knew that they were beginning to think it was me causing the problem or imagining it. Cataloging her deeds made them afraid usually as they were out of their depth.
            I eventually found my therapist who had been a mental health nurse for 30 years. When she just quietly said ‘ your mother is a psychopath’ in our initial meeting I knew I had found my place and she helped me a huge amount so it really is a question of finding a therapist who really gets it.
            The same would happen I believe with spouses and partners of narcs. Most therapists would not imagine they are being lied to and manipulated. They will start to take on the narc view of the situation unless the therapist is skilled and experienced. Unless the therapist can discuss and has a good understanding of narcissism and all it’s siblings then it will be like asking a janitor to do heart surgery.
            Therapists are trained to be a safe space for people to heal and tend not to think people lie or manipulate.

            This is not to say therapists are useless, I like to think we are very very good at what we do which is dealing with more run of the mill psychological difficulties and traumas. But personality disordered people I believe demand specialist help and society as a whole needs to be more clued up.
            I know I bang on about this book all the time but it’s a fast easy read on this topic and very focused on spotting and recovering from this kind of abuse. “The Emapthy Trap” by Jane McGregor and Tim McGregor. Sheldon press 2013.

            • Sorry just to add. For me one of the lightbulb moments of this book was the psychopath-empath-apath triad. For psychopath read narc or BP. Empaths would be us the chumps and often the most empathic and capable of people- the preferred prey of the psychopath for their ‘entertainment’. The third part is the ‘apathetics’ or apath. These can be anyone who is willing to participate in the abuse of the empath. Apaths can be anyone, friends, siblings, parents anyone who suffers from a lack of insight and have some connection to the empath. They are an integral part of the psychopaths abuse of the empath. This would fit on OW/OM very well indeed. They are willing to join with the psychopath in order to bring down the empath for personal reasons. Anyway! It’s a great book. Lots of real examples and case studies. Gave me chills but relief too. Sorry lots of me here today.

              • We like lots of you here, on any given day, Capricorn ; ). I personally love your insightful comments & recommendations.

              • I totally agree. Nothing is scarier than a disordered person with the education to play the system. Fucktard ex was a clinical psychologist with NPD. He had EVERYBODY fooled except my family and my individual therapist who was recommended by the domestic violence center and had a LOT of experience with victims of scum like him. She clued in our marriage counselor, and when I called it quits with him they went for drinks to celebrate.

                Thankfully, there were no children. (He wouldn’t share his kibble even with his own offspring.) But even so, divorcing a talented narc was a harrowing experience. And I was a lawyer as well as a chump.

                Hugs to those of you with children to protect. You are amazing and mighty.

              • @Survivor, “He wouldn’t share his kibble even with his own offspring.”

                And the cheater narcs who do have children don’t like to share kibble or attention even with their unborn child, which is why many (most?) start cheating during pregnancy. I’m pretty sure mine was cheating month 3 of my pregnancy (missing condom, anyone?). After I threw him out, he justified his affair (the only one I knew of at the time) by saying I was always doing things for “other people.” Our children? Entitled, selfish fucktards.

              • Harp on anything that helped you! Thanks Cap, I might read one more book on the topic. I know for me the book that opened my eyes was Why Does He Do That by Lundy, and the best help getting my intuition working again was Gift of Fear, I highly recommend them.

            • I sill read it. I recommend Richard Skerritt’s books,especially ” Meaning from Madness”.
              My first cheating ex-wife was very skilled at fooling people. I would worry that she could convince a therapst that I was abusive.
              I was fortunate. I was buying it myself until her sister took me aside and told me I had married a NARC and should divorce her.

            • Capricorn I ordered The Empathy Trap from Amazon per your recommendation. That was about a month or so ago. So far it is a very good read and I second your endorsement.

              • I’d like to add that I read Dr. Simon’s books a few years back and they are excellent. Unfortunately, my cheater read them too, along with Martha Stout and Robert Hare. I swear that he learned more than a few manipulation tricks from those volumes and I could kick myself for not recognizing what he is much sooner. Don’t let your cheaters see these titles, fellow chumps. You’ll regret it.

        • Capricorn – I agree with LaJ, I would like to discuss this issue at some point. And would like to effect change in this area somehow, someway.

          I’m gonna go read more on Simon’s website . . .

          And Chumplady, this . . . “makes you want to rip their spleen out with a rusty set of pliers” highlights one of your many gifts for which I am so so grateful . . . I could not. stop. laughing. Thank you for all that you do — especially, helping us to laugh despite such heavy circumstances.

          • What we need is some sort of basic checklist for picking a therapist. I’ve seen 3–the first one was a flipping genius whose first words about my family were “you might as well have been raised by wolves.” So he knew a Cluster B or an alcoholic or a psychopath was not someone you could work with. And he recommended the other 2 I’ve seen when he had to retire. But my first test is anyone who is not horrified by my childhood is not qualified. 🙂

      • You put into words what I’ve been dealing with when talking to our Custody Evaluator, our Coparenting Counselor and at least one of my therapists. It feels like they are so starry eyed and want to overlook the damage every time, just because he claims he is sorry. Yet his actions never show he is sorry.

        • Survivor – ‘She clued in our marriage counselor, and when I called it quits with him they went for drinks to celebrate.’

          Oh, I see. (OIC)

          You know, this is the kind of post I read almost daily, so it’s not an easy forum to read. By any means.
          You have to be tough to read some of these stories.
          I mean, MORE THAN TOUGH.
          I’m more saddened by others’ stories when people open up, whether here or on the forums, and hear their horror of Dday and Divorce Day. The more information and stories, the better, thank you to everybody that opens up.

          Survivor – you named yourself well and feel sorry this has happened to you. But, you have survived. Maybe I need to change my name, like that with an avatar of a savage wild boar-hunter. A Great Dane. Oops, I already have that! Best wishes because this shit is hard!

  • Keep a date ordered binder if everything he says and does. Keep all texts emails and transcribe all calls. Include date and time on everything.

    Go to Court Clerk and file Contempt each and every time he doesn’t pay support or violates the Parenting order. And when you get back in front of the judge ask for SUPERVISED visitation only and that he has to test sober 24 hours prior to visitation. Keep asking every time you go.

    It’s about best interest of the child. Not him

  • Clare

    Sorry I can’t offer more than just my sincere wishes that this nightmare will end for you soon and your life will be smooth and fuckwit free.
    So sorry you are going through this. I know this thread will be full of useful stuff.
    Big hugs and positive vibes to you.

  • Is he driving the children while he is under the influence? If you observe him driving in an impaired state, call the police with specific information about his location and the direction he is headed. This can be done as an anonymous tip. In many states, driving impaired with children in the car is a separate, and more serious, crime. Also, does he interact with teachers, coaches, etc? These kind of folks can make great witnesses because judges view them as impartial and tend to give their testimony great weight.

  • 1. Buy a wire bound notebook.
    2. Use only pen. Switch pen color frequently as same color may indicate data added at one time.
    3. Leave no spaces or empty lines between entries. Seriously.
    4. Update frequently.
    5. Date/time every observation.
    6. Do not editorialize or give any reason to believe you are adding personal insight. They don’t care and you are digging a hole to prove you have an axe to grind.
    7. If you need to add data, do not go back and write/cross things out/white out. Go to the next available line and write; “Amended to add on 00/00/0003 that on 00/00/00001 this happened.”
    8. Every page, take a photo with your phone, copy/scan and keep this back up data in a secure place. (Out of your home.) I recommend electronic file, make a brand new email account for documentation only. Send a copy to a trusted family member or keep a hard copy at work. This may only prove at a future date that you did not add any info or alter entries at a later date.
    9. Never contradict yourself. Example: do not moan that X does not pay support, offer help, gifts or spend time with kids, then 2 pages later say he took them to Disney and on vacations.
    – OR say he never sees them, then complain about his late drop off times.

    • The documentation book says way more about the writer than the one written about. Keep it classy and professional.
      Many have had the book used against them. Do not unwittingly do this to yourself.

    • If it helps you organizationally to leave spaces between entries or skip to a new page for a new date or incident, you can draw a nice tidy vertical INK line through the spaces. This is how accountant’s handle the need for spacing along with accountability. The reason you are eliminating spaces is to assure the reader (the court) that you didn’t come back later and adjust/change your “memory” of what happened to suit your own purposes.

  • Wow Claire thats a trifecta of fuck. Now add being a Dad on top of all that. Ask me I know.

    The courts are biased on gender. They just are. The mountains of documentation I provided was insurmountable but yet, GAL still recommended 50/50 to the judge. Baffled!

    Her 17 documented drinking and driving with kids in car wasn’t enough.

    Her 5 times passing out in front of kids wasn’t enough.

    Her 20 times of emotionally abusing the kids (i.e., “I hate you” or “I wish you would run away”) wasn’t enough.

    I cant even count the parental alienation, wasn’t enough.

    And yet, GAL still recommended 50/50 to judge.

    Now, my judge didn’t go with GALs recommendation which was very unlikely. They almost always goes with GAL. I was then granted full custody.

    You would think great, family court didn’t fail the kids. Wrong. She was able to secure another court date – have no clue how – so we can do all this again next year. Rinse, repeat, appeal.

    I agree whole heartedly that the courts want to wait for the *physical* damage to occur like having my kid or all of my kids lunged from a windshield of a car before they wake up.
    That way they can create a new law and name it after one or all of my kids. Oh, the adulation they would receive for being so noble! Its sickening.

    Lawmakers: “How about lets call the law, Rob’s 3 little birds law.”

    GAL: “Oh, I like that. Its is a great name.”

    • Sure
      Your kids may have one dead loss of a parent but they won the lottery with you. A dad that just stands strong and goes to bat for his kids again and again and again despite all the fuckwittery coming his way.
      Proud to share a tribe with you sir..

    • You haven’t lost a battle yet. You’ve been going up against a rigged system that blindly adheres to giving bad parents more chances, particularly mothers. And still, you haven’t lost a battle yet. Sometimes the good guys win in real life just like in the movies. Step by step, honey. Keep going.

    • SureChumpedALot,
      I am very sorry to hear that you and your kids are suffering needlessly.
      I do not agree completely with your comment that the courts are gender-biased in favor of women. I, a female chump parent, feel constantly run over by my criminal STBX and female judge. Both my female and male Same Parent friends have been shafted by disordered exes and biased or fooled judges. I agree with you in that I believe that a particular judge may be heavily biased–toward men or toward women. Unfortunately, it seems as though many judges (and people in general) are biased in other ways as well (litigants race, professional background, side on which litigant parts his/her hair, etc.) and are not logical, deep thinkers.

      • I respect what you are saying RockStarWife. I did say, “The courts are biased on gender” – meaning the same injustices that I am facing (GAL woman siding with Cluster B ex-wife), you are facing also (Female Judge siding with charming fuckwit of your STBXH). This all sucks!! I also feel for you and your kids.

        In the end my opinion is our justice system, regardless of gender, are more concerned with the rights of abusers over the rights of the victims. They buy into the whole sad-sausage routine and it’s sickening. This is where the root of the problem is in my opinion.

        • I am currently co-parenting with an alcoholic that is in denial regardless of the DUI, CPS case and the countless implosions he has caused himself. Each situation is unique and I will spare you the unnecessary details of mine but I want to point out that the following are “truths” no matter what the situation is and I implore you not to disregard any single one of them. Some of these truths have already been shared but are worth repeating:
          -Remove from your mind the notion that a child MUST have a deep and meaningful relationship with both parents. Children MUST not attempt to build deep and meaningful relationships with anyone who cannot reciprocate. Children MUST only have deep and meaningful relationships with people who can gave deep and meaningful relationships. Childhood is but a small percentage of a person’s life and they will have ample time to build a relationship with the addict when they are better equipped to do so.
          -Do NOTHING and I mean absolutely NOTHING to bridge the relationship between the addict and the child. You create the illusion that the addict is reciprocating in the relationship, that the addict is acting normally and is functioning as such. This does not only have the possibility of blowing up in your face but can cause your child great harm as they get older.
          -Be age appropriately honest with your children ALWAYS. No malice and with nothing but the love and kindness you feel for your children, be honest with them. NEVER bash your addict, EVER, but do not in any way hide the fact of what they are. That their choices have imploded lives and that their actions are choices. This is not the time to get into the “it is a disease” which causes an understandable empathetic response from a child. Let the addict’s doctor deal with the “disease” and be clear that the addict is not only harming themselves but has also harmed the child’s family and mother/father. In essence, do not spare the addict the rightfully earned title of addict.
          -YOU ARE ENOUGH and then some. You, your love, your presence, your laugh, your tears, your stories, your fears and everything single thing about you is enough for our child to grow up to be healthy and to choose happiness for themselves. You didn’t need the addict and neither does your child. You are more than enough!

          Please know that I have learned most of this from experience. My addict has no license and by wanting to do the right thing, I would go out of my way to bring my children to him for visitation. Visitation that was no fun for the kids, only once resulted in no tears and ultimately got my son harmed and brought CPS into our lives. CPS asked me this: “With all of this (drinking, DUI and the such) why would you leave your children with him unsupervised?” That single question changed everything for me, it was like a tornado of enlightenment or so I thought…
          It gets even better, so now we have no unsupervised visits. I invite the addict into our home once a week to spend time with my children and so they can build meaningful relationships. He was never on time. We never knew what time he would show up. It was so stressful for the kids but of course we need those “meaningful relationships”! I cook the fuckhead dinner so they can share a meal together, hang back and watch him repeatedly smack my daughter’s elbow off the table over and over and over again. She was so nervous, she couldn’t stop doing the very thing that he was abusing her over. The tears running down her face were invisible to him. I literally got up looking for something to hit him with! Thank G-d, my common sense kicked in before I kicked in his teeth.

          I truly believe that my son getting hit and my daughter being emotionally abused is/was MY FAULT! In the pursuit of meaningful relationships I allowed them to be abused and I put them at risk. Please read Luziana’s post up above. They say the sure sign of intelligence is learning from other’s experiences. Let us all be Einsteins and learn from one another.

          • Great post, GraceinMotion,and a reminder to anyone who is staying or stayed “for the sake of the children” [raising my hand]–children need one sane, strong parent more than they need a disordered parent + an otherwise sane-parent who is being weakened or made crazy by the disordered parent.

        • SureChumpedALot,
          Thanks for responding. I hope that life soon gets easier for your family! Your energy inspires me. It looks as though, although I am a far from a litigious person, that I may be embroiled in a few legal cases simultaneously to defend my family. Somewhere among preparing for all these cases, searching for a full-time job, raising children, finding a roommate, dealing with my own injury and supporting disabled and dying relatives, I am going to make/shop for economical Christmas presents–before Christmas!

          • Now thats a great plan rockstar!

            You will then be a rock star elf!? Lol.

            Your hands are full doll. Just remember you can only chisel so much in any given day.

            Tomorrow, chisel a little more.

            The day after that, chisel some more.

            Live life as you chisel.

            Might takes some time but I have nothing but faith in you that your masterpiece will be fully chiseled and completed some day.

            You will be rewarded by laying your chisel down. 🙂

    • So true, SCaL, that’s why we see so many dead kids every year in NZ. The greatest danger for kids is bad parents given chance after chance to improve at the kids’ expense.

      • Kiwi so true….and that’s why I get so frightened with the courts. Unless there is visible physical damage, the courts tend to give the abuser another chance – at the kids expense of course. This is no way to live.

        I normally don’t “show my cards” but we are amongst friends here….

        I am staying 3 steps ahead of my manipulative exw. Sometime after her court ordered random alcohol/drug test in the next couple weeks, she will have a visitor – at all times – unknowingly – documenting and videoing her every single move. Get my drift?

        Fuck that, I will never throw in the towel! I will hit below the belt! I will do whatever it takes when my kids safety is in jeopardy. Plus, what I will be doing is completely legal.

  • Dear Clare,
    Drat! I typed out a long response on my phone and then lost it to a nefarious sidebar ad. But this is important enough that I got up and came to the laptop.

    I can tell you what coparenting with an addict is. Truly, in my 46 years it’s been a been my pleasure to be in some form or fashion everyone’s cautionary tale. Only 3 serious relationships in that time, and due to various reasons including my stupidity, all ended sadly or badly. You’re young! Learn from me!

    Coparenting with an active addict doesn’t exist. Coparenting with a dry addict who does not follow a program of amends and accountability doesn’t exist. Copatenting with an addict is not much different than living with one. You’re the responsible one, you do all the heavy lifting. You do get the grace of being a few steps removed from “OH GOD WHAT NOW?”. But that’s pretty much it.

    I got married at 20 and my son was born at 24. His father, not an addict before, responded to the challenge of fatherhood by becoming one. He kept this hidden well past the point where his crazy bullshit had driven my son and me from our home. I found out when he went into rehab. Our son was 7, we were long divorced. The fact that his family had willfully kept his addiction from me and encouraged weekly visits where my son was visibly neglected made me vow I would never allow that fucker unsupervised visits. He saw his dad minimally. I worked my ass off. My son was safe and warm and happy. He did great at school and had friends.

    At age eleven his father reappears. Supposedly sober, but not particularly clean or interested in making things right before demanding he see his son. Keep in mind, seeing his son was never about his son’s well doing or happiness. It was about his OWN feelings, his own desires to have companionship, as he’s burned every bridge by stealing and laziness and irresponsibiliy. As I told his family then and now, “Whats food for him and his addiction is not always what’s good for my son. Sometimes they’re the polar opposite. You ALL need to stop assuming this child is an accessory or a package deal and ask if you’d leave your kid alone with him.”

    My son wanted to know his dad, but all he got in these visits was a severely twisted worldview, an absence of a work ethic, and knowledge how to work harder at not working and scamming systems and people than the effort it would have taken to just live the simple, quiet life I’d always wanted. Knowing there was an alternate reality, my son began to reject my values. He always loved me, but there was always something exotic about the unknown.

    So for you, Clare. Let me tell you what I didn’t do. I agree with Sunny that for an addict (even a dry addict without a program of amends and accountability), The Substance is always paramount. No child, no partner, no religion comes before either succumbing or resisting. I let my son visit his dad again never envisioning he’d develop addiction and mental illness too. Please be aware of the hereditary component and give extra care to teaching your children good mood management skills. Keep your children safe. No matter what the papers say, it’s not shared custody. You will do all the lifting, remembering, providing.

    Most children of addicts turn out just fine, but I lost my beautiful, once happy boy at 21 this last summer to suicide. Who paid and drove to countless appoiutments, begged doctors to treat him? Who visited him in six rounds of rehab? Who stood by his hospital bed? Who claimed the body? Who planned and paid for the service? Who gave the eulogy?

    Who showed up, and claimed half my boy’s ashes in a special case without lifting a finger for 21 years?

    Clare, I know this is grave, but it’s important. I know you have it in you to make your children come out okay. Addicts start out with the same intentions we do, but without sobriety, amends and accountability they do not make good decisions.

    What is coparenting with a an addict like? It’s a mirage. You do all the work and they show up for show. And take half. I’m so sorry.

    • Oh, Luz. So sorry for your pain. And so grateful for this mighty testimony of what an addict parent can do to a child.

    • Luz,
      Thank you for sharing your story. I am physically sick after reading it. I wasn’t married to an addict (unless you count his porn habit) but I come from a long line of alcoholics. Both parents. All four grandparents, one of whom committed suicide. Two of my three siblings. All of my aunts and uncles. 1/3 of my great aunts and uncles. And about 1/3 of my cousins. (I myself came close when I self-medicated with alcohol during and after my divorce.)
      And those of us who aren’t addicted have mental health issues related to having to deal with the chaos of the addiction. My greatest fear is that one or both of my children will become substance abusers. I look at my precious son and my daughter and terror grips my heart to think of our family “legacy.” I appreciate your suggestion to help our kids learn mood management and I’m going to try to look into that as a preventative measure. Bless you, Luziana.

    • Oh my Luz, my tears are reserved for you and your son.

      I am so frightened that even doing everything that I am for my 3 birds, that there is possibility that my story can also have a tragic end. I will say 10 prayers for you and your boy. I am so so sorry.

    • And you wrote it twice. For us. For your son.

      Thank you for your mighty strength to share your story with us today.

      Attempting to wrap you, and me, and all of Chump Nation in loving kindness right now. xx

    • Luz: No one should have to endure what you (or your son) endured. You are a reminder that character is made by showing up, by sacrificing, by being the safety net for our children. Huge hugs your way.

      • Luz,I am sorry. My 26 year old son,whose mom is an alcoholic and NPD,has struggled,too. 10 treatments so far. One revival where the cops administered some shot to get his heart started.
        My dad was an alcoholic. All my siblings and me are screwed up from it.

    • Luz,
      I am sorry that you and you son suffered tremendously. I am awed by your strength and your ability to clearly, concisely, and powerfully share your wisdom.

    • Luz,

      My heart just chipped a bit for you and I am sending you that piece for your own broken heart. I walk the line every day with my son (soon to be 18) and I made a vow that I would do anything to help him through anything and everything. Some days I know it will not be enough. Other days I feel that the friends holding my hand, TIME and HOPE, will see us through.

      Words cannot express my sorrow for you. Please know that I am thinking of you and your son. That someone cares, that someone understands (well, at least part of it). Love to you.

      Your advice to Clare is so important. Listening to what you know is right it more important than anything handed down by people that spend minutes deciding your fate. We are forced to play a game. Change the game. Fight the game. Do what you can with what you have emotionally, financially, spiritually and whatever ally you can muster. You know the saying, resistance is futile. Well, acceptance can be futile, too.

      I may join the ranks of lost battles all too soon, but until that time I will not give up. Hope. And “I’ll bite your legs off.”

    • Dear Luz, thank you for telling your story. It takes great courage to write this to help other chumps. I fear this for one the traitor’s boys who told us he had felt suicidal around age 16 – we didn’t know- and asked his dad why he had not tried to live closer after he left their mum. Traitor ignored the question and blamed the mum for not providing the right kind of living environment… No empathy at all. The disgust and despair in that boy’s eyes will stay with me forever.

    • Thank you for sharing Luz. Your wisdom is welcome and I hope we can all learn from your horrible experience. The fact that you show up here to help the rest of us shows you still have hope for the human race and sometimes that in itself is an amazing show of strength.

      • Thank you right back to all of you. My daughter and I are getting by, and we appreciate your support. I do hope that if my story helps anyone it helps me. Even us Chumps who are Meh to the broken relationship that brought us here can help others.

        • Luziana, sending you hugs. There’s nothing as painful as losing a child. I know this first hand, like you. It takes a long time to come to grips with, and I found it’s kind of like peeling an onion, in layers. We grieve as much as we can, and then take a break. Then when we are ready, we tackle another layer. I’m afraid I don’t have any words of wisdom, except be gentle with yourself.

    • Luziana, your story brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for all that you have had to endure at the hands of that creature. Hugs and healing to you.

  • The ClusterFuck B Sociopath is a drunk. Six (or maybe even 7) DWI’s and finally spending a little time in jail barely slowed him down. Cock Slobber drives him around now (I think). She is a drunk too.
    The ClusterFuck B Sociopath is a mean, rude, nasty, violent drunk. He drinks to feel better so he used to say. I now know he was trying to fill that dead empty carcass of himself with something other than evil. Well……LOL…….he failed at that too.
    While we did not have children together, I can’t imagine having to deal with that. The rules simply don’t apply to ClusterFucks. You, the Courts, the laws, nothing is the boss of them.
    I definitely understand the addiction part. It was always the priority. The interesting thing is The Sociopath was not truly addicted as he could stop at will IF HE CHOSE TO, with no withdrawal symptoms. I believe he drinks to feel alive. Then the rage comes out.
    I am so thankful Cock Slobber stole him away. These dumb bitches think these fucking asshole men are so great. Let them have the fuckers.
    Clare-so sorry you are dealing with these two assholes.

    • Wow EX,

      A Drunk Cluster B Sociopath and a Cock Slobbering Drunken Whore in the same car must be a sight to see – and hear!

      I can just see the both of them fighting over the ONE cup holder in the car to put their beer (wrapped in a koozie) in……

      Her: ”I’m driving you Cluster B Jagaloon, take your brew out of the holder and put it between your legs, dick!”
      Him: “Fuck you, you Cock Slobbering Whore, you put your beer between your legs. It I’ll fit there ya know!”

      • SureChumped-
        Bwa ha ha ha ha. I can assure you the scenario you offer is far from reality. She will remain silent for fear of triggering a rage. Then the silence triggers a rage. Basically, any reason in his demented mind will trigger a rage. Then he probably bashes her head off the window or screams in her face, or both. Or holds her down suffocating her. Ahhh-good times.
        I never thought I would get away from him. She was my savior, and her own kiss of death. Idiot.

        • Ex-

          Golly, so sorry he did these things to you. I am very happy you are away from him and here with us!!

          OK EX, let me replay the scenario now that I know…..

          Her: ”Crickets” – as she pulls her brew out of the cup holder, takes a chug, then puts it back in.
          Him: “Fuck you, you Cock Slobbering Whore, take your damn brew out of my cup holder you put it between your legs. It I’ll fit there ya know!”
          Her: “Ok dear” – as she pulls her brew out from between her legs, takes a chug, then puts it back between her legs.
          Him: “You missed the damn turn you bitch”
          Her: “Sorry dear” – as she pulls her brew out from between her legs, takes a chug, then puts it back between her legs.

          More like it?? LOL

    • But I thought alcoholic Clusterfucks always looked for a sober designated driver. Eight days across France with Fucktard in the passenger seat with a bottle of wine between his knees comes to mind . . .

  • Aww Clare. Let me just say up front how sorry I am that you are having to deal with both cheating and addiction. Co-parenting with these combined afflictions is indeed a losing battle. Might as well just go find a brick wall and start banging your head against it.

    My ex has been an alcoholic 40 years … starting in high school. He is also addicted to weed, which actually isn’t easy to accomplish. You have to use it a LOT before it becomes a chemical dependency. And while weed is tamer than opiates, it still affects the user’s judgment, driving, and brings unsavory people (dealers) potentially in contact with your kid. Cheech and Chong are hilarious in movies but you wouldn’t want to co-parent with that nonsense.

    For those who are early in the separation, settlement, and divorce process … FIGHT LIKE HELL for as much custody as you can get. Pay no attention to how high functioning and well intended your fuckwit appears now. Stifle those soft, gentle feelings about how your child deserves a loving relationship with the other parent. They do, but that can be achieved AFTER you have full legal rights. That way, if things go south, you can reduce or eliminate custody as needed without going through the courts. Divorce is hard on addicts … they were accustomed to you picking up slack for them in every area of their life. And believe it or not, they actually used less because of your ever-present vigilance and that restriction is now gone. The downward spiral is almost guaranteed. They will inevitably ramp up use and it will almost certainly begin to affect your kid. Prepare for this highly likely scenario in advance. Please hear me on this one.

    If you already have a visitation schedule in place … you are back to CL’s excellent advice. Be subtle, but make sure you know how visits are going from the safety and emotional health standpoint of your kid. Make sure they have a cell phone and can reach you at any time. Document carefully and explicitly.

    Again, so very sorry for those of you who face this nightmare. It is truly the worst part of every having encountered these disordered assholes. 🙁

    • ^^^THIS^^^ Applause Dixie! You are spot on with every word! Written with elegance.

      “Stifle those soft, gentle feelings about how your child deserves a loving relationship with the other parent.” – This was the start of the demise for me and my 3 birds. This is what kept me from going for full custody 3.5 years ago when I divorced. I am still mad at myself for being so stupid.

      Yes, I have done the custody thing now, but the price my kids and I paid was enormous. I will not fail them again.

  • You aren’t “co-anything” with an addict. Even when they are present for an event, they bring their fogged-up mindset and worldview, their resentment of your responsible behavior, their selfish lack of regard for the needs of others, and the chaos of their lives with them. I’ve had a lifetime with these folks, starting with a father who was an alcohol abuser (functional binge drinker, emotionally absent, willing to leave the kids to fend with hostile narcissistic mother he avoided). Nearly every man I dated seriously was a “dry drunk” or a full-blown alcoholic. I fell in love with XH the substance abuser at 21 and never really stopped although we didn’t marry till I was 50. After 2-3 false starts with him in my 20s, I went on with my life, more or less, and learned a lot about addiction along the way, mostly because of a 10-year relationship with ANOTHER alcoholic who was an amazing person in many ways. I had to leave that situation to finish my doctoral work; he created so much chaos that cleaning up after him was a full-time job. I went into my marriage at 50 with my eyes wide open in one sense and with them shut tight in another. I knew he was an alcoholic, but I thought it was my last chance to be happy. I had won the pick-me dance with various willowy blondes and the bottles! Ten years of that wore me down to nothing, emotionally. In the end, he resented contributing anything to the home–money, affection, time, kindness.

    Here’s what I learned:
    1. Unlike narcissists, alcoholics can change. I’ve seen it once or twice. But they have to not only get sober, but deal with the drive they have to drink as well as the narcissistic tendencies they learned while drinking. They have to learn to see other people and their needs. They have to learn to deal with regret and shame. They have to deal with their fears, especially the fear of intimacy. They have to learn to monitor not only the urge to use the substance, but the emotional state that triggers it. Take a look at the 12 steps. That’s not a one-time deal; that’s a way of life, a set of rules for living with the self and others. I’m not always a big cheerleader for AA, but those 12 steps and the insistence on support and accountability are good starting points for understanding what it takes for substance abusers to change. For sure it’s not just stopping to use. It’s fixing the urge to use substances, to use people, to use situations. It’s about learning to live without medicating the self.
    2. If you’re living with an addict or separated and “fixing” problems, you are probably co-dependent and that is your problem to fix. The substance abuser is hooked on substances to manage life, moods, disappointment, fears, other people, crisis, etc. You are hooked on fixing the substance abuser. Once you fix your own problem, often by leaving, you need to get into therapy to look at why other people’s lives are more important than your own. That’s fear and avoidance, also. If, like me, you were raised in a household with the toxic stew of narcissism, alcohol, and emotional abuse and neglect, you will need lots of help learning a better way to live.
    3. Truth is your best ally. “You don’t remember because you were drunk.” “There is no acceptable reason to have opioids in the house that were not prescribed for you.” “I can’t stay married to someone who is driving after drinking.” “Dad is not sick with flu; he’s drunk.” The first step is to tell yourself the truth and then act accordingly. That might mean turning someone in for DUI. It might mean asking for divorce and sticking to it.
    4. Kids definitely need therapy. If you are here, your kids have at least one adequate parent because you are working on getting your life in order. But a child with an alcoholic parent needs to learn early that they can’t fix the good-time dad or mom that everyone loves. The child has to learn that the passed-out, angry or distant dad that never makes it to the game or the school play is part of the real person, not just the sparkly one that everyone loves.
    5. My parents were such a mixed bag. They were endlessly civi-minded. They helped many, many people. They helped animals. They could be a lot of fun. But alcoholics aren’t available to deal with the emotional needs of kids, and both narcissists and alcoholics bend the child’s need for love to serve themselves. It’s taken 30+ years of therapy to start living on a different level, where the toxic stuff I learned as a kid no longer seems normal to me. And I still see a therapist most weeks, and I still hear her say, “That’s not a helpful way to approach this issue” more often than I would like.
    6. Living with infidelity and substance abuse requires you to put aside your own development as a human, your own emotional needs, your own capacity for joy, your own dreams in order to keep living with someone who has no regard for you. Oh, they may “love” you, but what they think is “love” is really about getting what they need without regard for what you need.

    • Wow LAJ, you over-did yourself, yet again. I love reading your posts. The insight you provide is unparalleled.

      ” their resentment of your responsible behavior” – this struck a chord with me. This whole topic today is making me emotional.

      The pain that us chumps have all endured by the betrayal is shattering. But the more concoctions that are thrown into the witches brew makes it even so harder, like substance abuse. It so easily become unmanageable.

      I am grateful to receive the strength that you give us. Thank you.

    • Great summary of life with dysfunctional people — and your part in the dance. I especially like “love is about getting what they need without regard for what you need. ” I think I was lucky that I was a great mother for my kids — but I hate to think that part of the attraction to me from the X’s was that they needed a great mother. Neither of them had one — and boy did I forgive them a lot of sins for that particular life circumstance. But, somehow, even though my dad was a functioning “dry drunk” and a malignant narcissist, I didn’t ever use that as an excuse not to be responsible for my own actions, or to complete my own chores.

      For my sons — I did them the great favor of explaining that alcoholism had a genetic component — and they were burdened with it from both sides of their genetic donors. I made sure they knew what addiction was and what it could do to a person, and the person’s family. I even talked about a new understanding I had come to with the biblical “sin’s of the father” . All of that was more information than I had when I was being raised, because, of course, my father’s problems were never explained or discussed. I hope that saves them from needing therapy in the future. At lease I didn’t deny reality.

      As for sharing custody with a Cluster B type — I found most of my issues went away as soon as the next shiny thing came along and caught their attention. As long as they are consumed with “me, me, me” (and they always are) they will leave you alone. Children are way too much trouble for them to deal with, and it is only fun if they are making you miserable, or trying to impress someone else. Just make sure the kids can always get in touch with you and at least one back-up if possible. The kids will learn when to call for a rescue. Overall, they are pretty smart, and will figure most of the problems out without you ever having to say a word.

      • That’s one thing I forgot–the genetic component. I don’t drink very much; I’m not a fan of beer or wine (allergic to it) but I cannot drink hard liquor. I go from sober to blackout in record time. I can not drink that stuff. So I do not. And I know that’s part of my DNA on both sides–blackout drinking.

    • Great post LAJ. Summed it up perfectly at the beginning, you aren’t co anything with an addict. Everything else is supporting that key phrase.

  • Thank you, Chump Lady, for posting this. I’m sorry if it didn’t make much sense to some. I’ve been a mess and am having a terrible time organizing my thoughts. I feel beaten down after this court experience. Ex always told me if I took him to court he’d win, because everyone loves him and hates me. It sucked to have that confirmed.

    His drug of choice is oxcontin, but he also uses heroin and meth. I know this because I used to drug test him when I was pick-me-dancing with his addiction. But home drug tests aren’t admissible in court, and he somehow passed his court-ordered tests, though I don’t know how. I know the signs well enough by now to see that he’s still high as a kite.

    Chump Lady, I needed to hear what you said about documenting what I do for the kids. I was doing that in the beginning, but got lazy. Lately it’s been all about the ways he’s failing them and the creepy things my kids have been telling me about the goings on at his (flop)house. And you are right that I need to appear empathetic, and not like I have an ax to grind. The courts took such pity on him. “Oh, you went to rehab? Well, that’s great, you’re really working on your issues!” Ummmm… no. I FORCED him into rehab, twice, and the first time he lied about being in one, instead living out of his car and calling me every day to tell me how well it was working and that he was a changed man.

    I went through two lawyers, both of whom failed me miserably. The first one forgot to file my response to ex’s counter-restraining order (yes, he tried to say I beat him and he was scared of 110-lb me), my second lawyer missed a court date- and those are just small examples of their ineptitude. I’ve reported both to the bar, and if I go to court again I will represent myself. It sucked so bad feeling like I didn’t have a voice, and watching them sabotage my case.

    Thank you all for your responses. Thank you for sharing your stories. I’m so sorry to hear what some of you have been through.

    Happy Holidays to you all.

    • Clare, a couple things — on the legal front, call your local Legal Aid society and see if you can’t get pro bono help. The Bar association you complained to can help you with that.

      Also Google the myriad way in which addicts beat drug tests. It’s really fucking amazing. An addict specialist told me you want to demand a HAIR test from a lab — cannot be faked. (Although the druggie boards are full of suggestions.)

      Urine tests apparently are much easier to fake. Also the educated druggie knows that they only test for certain things. So, they’ll flush their system and take an opiate that the drug screen generally doesn’t test for, like Tramadol, so they don’t go into withdrawal.

      To catch those other substances, you’d have to do a multi-screen test (and be sure they aren’t getting clean urine from someone). Thus the HAIR test. Insist on it. People with nothing to hide, hide nothing.

      I’d be like “Hey, we can make it binding both ways! Drug test me!”

    • Clare,
      I am a ‘frequent flyer’ in the legal system against my will although I stay on the right (chumpy) side of the law. Just writing to tell you that I ‘get’ much of your pain. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you that things improve dramatically!

  • Dearest Clare,
    I was not going to comment, until I saw your partner does meth. I do not want to panic you, but you need to move heaven and earth to keep your children away from this person. This is a curse, but this is also your Ace in the Hole. You need to move past documenting- you need to hire a stone faced private detective/investigator to put together a report on your addict’s behavior. The Court will not be able to ignore any…..ANY….evidence of someone smoking meth.

    My ex-fiancee is a meth addict (before it was cocaine. what a prize) No one, no one can tangle with a meth addict and come out unscathed. I will repeat that: No one, no person can have ANY CONTACT with a meth addict and not be harmed.

    Here are some notes I wrote down from a meth support meeting that a meth addict (who had a few years sober) told our group about what being on meth is:

    ______

    WHEN I WAS HIGH ON METH

    I have no idea what I would have done.

    I mean that literally.

    I lived alone, on a piece of properly in a wealthy neighborhood where I had no danger of encountering people.

    But if I had… I might have done anything. Good or bad.

    I might have given away 10,000$. I might have slept with a teen.

    WHEN I WAS HIGH ON METH

    I want you to think of it as being an alien, who has just landed in a human body, and so has no context, no moral compass, nothing.

    Have sex with a doorknob, okay? Cut my arm open, wonder what happens? Tell a person I’ve know for 10 years that they mean nothing, seems like an idea?

    ON METH YOU DON’T HEAR ANYONE SCREAM
    ______

    Meth is the Big Boy Bully drug that grabs people and never lets them go. They are fucking assholes for even touching the stuff. The women you see arrested for letting men sodomize their children for drugs? They are usually female meth addicts.

    Meth will become his drug of choice. It is cheap, and it blasts about 1200 units of dopamine in their brains on every puff or injection or snort. Sex is 100 units. Cocaine is 500. A cheeseburger is about 7-10 units.

    How do you know an addict is lying?
    Their lips are moving.

    What is a synonym for addict? Asshole.

    Anyone who is selling that shit story that “They have a disease!” my response is…Hmmmm, I have brain cancer. I am going to ask my Higher Power to help me NOT have brain cancer. I hope this works!

    Cheating and addiction are just different sides of the coin: Entitled, catastrophically selfish assholes who WANT what they WANT NOW and fuck the consequences: to you, children, animals, finances, dignity. truth, STDs, prison.

    It is true. You cannot editorialize in your documentation because the morons in the court system will think Gasp! You are passing judgment.

    But, a dry, 30 page report that reads like this:

    Observed subject enter 109 Lake Street. Subject emerged with small packet. Subject sat in car with white female and used a glass pipe to smoke said substance.

    You will have pages and pages of this because getting opiates and meth involves having to hang out with the most scummy people on the planet. You have to hustle to get the money to get those drugs. You have to break the law DAILY to have a druggie lifestyle.

    The custodial study Kellia suggested and hiring a private investigator will be the two hammers that no Court can ignore.
    And remember this, Clare: Meth creates an intense, insane need for sex. And they are not using condoms. Things happen when nothing matters more than shoving your nasty dick in anything with a wet hole. Don’t have sex with this freak. If you knew what women will do for meth, it would make you vomit and then start googling HIV symptoms.

    Hire people to help you show he is a meth tweaker freak. It will be GAME OVER. And there is also Crime Stoppers. It really is anonymous and you would be surprised how seriously they take each report.
    (Ask me how I know!)

    • I knew meth was bad, but not this bad. Thanks for educating all of us about this: “It is cheap, and it blasts about 1200 units of dopamine in their brains on every puff or injection or snort. Sex is 100 units. Cocaine is 500. A cheeseburger is about 7-10 units.”

  • I am currently co-parenting with an alcoholic that is in denial regardless of the DUI, CPS case and the countless implosions he has caused himself. Each situation is unique and I will spare you the unnecessary details of mine but I want to point out that the following are “truths” no matter what the situation is and I implore you not to disregard any single one of them. Some of these truths have already been shared but are worth repeating:
    -Remove from your mind the notion that a child MUST have a deep and meaningful relationship with both parents. Children MUST not attempt to build deep and meaningful relationships with anyone who cannot reciprocate. Children MUST only have deep and meaningful relationships with people who can gave deep and meaningful relationships. Childhood is but a small percentage of a person’s life and they will have ample time to build a relationship with the addict when they are better equipped to do so.
    -Do NOTHING and I mean absolutely NOTHING to bridge the relationship between the addict and the child. You create the illusion that the addict is reciprocating in the relationship, that the addict is acting normally and is functioning as such. This does not only have the possibility of blowing up in your face but can cause your child great harm as they get older.
    -Be age appropriately honest with your children ALWAYS. No malice and with nothing but the love and kindness you feel for your children, be honest with them. NEVER bash your addict, EVER, but do not in any way hide the fact of what they are. That their choices have imploded lives and that their actions are choices. This is not the time to get into the “it is a disease” which causes an understandable empathetic response from a child. Let the addict’s doctor deal with the “disease” and be clear that the addict is not only harming themselves but has also harmed the child’s family and mother/father. In essence, do not spare the addict the rightfully earned title of addict.
    -YOU ARE ENOUGH and then some. You, your love, your presence, your laugh, your tears, your stories, your fears and everything single thing about you is enough for our child to grow up to be healthy and to choose happiness for themselves. You didn’t need the addict and neither does your child. You are more than enough!

    Please know that I have learned most of this from experience. My addict has no license and by wanting to do the right thing, I would go out of my way to bring my children to him for visitation. Visitation that was no fun for the kids, only once resulted in no tears and ultimately got my son harmed and brought CPS into our lives. CPS asked me this: “With all of this (drinking, DUI and the such) why would you leave your children with him unsupervised?” That single question changed everything for me, it was like a tornado of enlightenment or so I thought…
    It gets even better, so now we have no unsupervised visits. I invite the addict into our home once a week to spend time with my children and so they can build meaningful relationships. He was never on time. We never knew what time he would show up. It was so stressful for the kids but of course we need those “meaningful relationships”! I cook the fuckhead dinner so they can share a meal together, hang back and watch him repeatedly smack my daughter’s elbow off the table over and over and over again. She was so nervous, she couldn’t stop doing the very thing that he was abusing her over. The tears running down her face were invisible to him. I literally got up looking for something to hit him with! Thank G-d, my common sense kicked in before I kicked in his teeth.

    I truly believe that my son getting hit and my daughter being emotionally abused is/was MY FAULT! In the pursuit of meaningful relationships I allowed them to be abused and I put them at risk. Please read Luziana’s post up above. They say the sure sign of intelligence is learning from other’s experiences. Let us all be Einsteins and learn from one another.

    • Grace, your experience and your post is more than most people learn about addiction in a lifetime. We take in such toxic assumptions from the wider culture, which preaches that sanctity of parenthood. As an educator, I have tried to “pay forward” what a number of adults, most notably my first therapist, did for me: undo the miseducation provided by my parents. Many people have the biological ability to make a child. That does not mean they won’t damage that child tremendously once they get home from the hospital. Your post is a cautionary tale for those chumps raising the children of addicts, but apply equally well to cheaters. We should not be enabling addicts or cheaters to have a relationship with the kids. Not doing all the driving, or nagging about school events, or covering up for them when they miss visitation or letting them play “happy family” in our homes.

      It’s a huge piece of information for kids if one parent can’t do the job. Let the truth prevail. Give the kids the tools to process that through therapy for you and them. Just don’t set them up for a lifetime of thinking love is about getting blood out of a rock.

  • Clare, I am so sorry for what you are having to deal with. My spouse has been an addict for I don’t know how many years, a serial cheater, a thief and so many other awful things. Trying to reason with her for the good of our children is often like trying to reason with a tornado tearing through your house, sometimes literally. They will refuse to acknowledge the damage they are doing. For better or worse I asked my wife to leave in the middle of one of her falling apart times when she had at least one lover, drugs, stealing from friends and family and was already way out of control. Asking her to get help before she could see the kids again drove her crazy and didn’t work. Not letting her call everyday to cry to the kids made her threaten me daily. It was tough but I followed my lawyer’s advice kept the kids safe. She just got worse once she was out on her own, all kinds of crazy behavior that I don’t want to get into. You have lived the madness for I don’t know how long, you have seen the destruction, no doubt you have already seen the negative effects all this has had on your kids, but the judge can’t really feel all that so you have to live with giving the cheater/addict enough rope to hang themselves. I didn’t want to give that rope to my wife either, I was scared she would fake out the judge and my kids would be in danger. She had the chance to follow recommendations to prove she was safe but instead of following the court order to prove she could get herself together, she went more crazy. I don’t know where you are in the process, but if you don’t have a serious family law expert lawyer, fire whoever you have and get one. Tell her/him everything. If the custody is already final 50/50 figure out some possible scenarios you could encounter and come up with plans with your lawyer. Mine kept reminding me to make sure every choice I made was in the best interests of the children. Keep your emotions in check as best you can. Conventional custody wisdom says to encourage a relationship no matter how destructive they are, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your kids get in the car with him if he’s drunk or high. He may show up to the exchange someday drunk, have a plan for what you can legally do. If your child calls and says Dad is drunk/high while they are there, have a plan for that. Depending on the state you may be allowed to deny custody time if he shows up intoxicated or high. Document and if it happens often enough go back to court with your evidence. It can get really tough with your emotions and knowing what you legally can and can’t do, but be strong. Even in supervised visitation, just because they get so many hours doesn’t mean the supervisor can’t cut it short for inappropriateness or cancel it due to the danger of them showing up under the influence, so you probably can too and should have plans in advance, put them in the order if you still can.

    If your kids are in school, tell the school guidance counselor and the teacher to keep an eye on your child and let you know if they notice anything. Tell any adult actively in your kids lives what’s going on. Take the kids to see a therapist if you come across some tough situations. Keep them involved in activities, maybe church of some sort, and make sure you have a strong support system. If you end up back in court in the future seeking sole or increased custody, these things will show the judge what’s important to you, the kids, and the contrast to what the addict/cheater has done will show what’s important to them, drugs and selfishness.

  • I just pulled this out of CL’s post and want to amplify it: “Don’t let [the kids] make their needs tiny so as not to upset the addict.” And chumps–don’t make your own needs tiny so as not to upset the addict.

      • But there is one silver lining: Give them time, and they will always self implode.

        Ever see any elderly, happy ACTIVE drug addicts/drinkers sitting on the porch in the golden years, smiling, sipping an Arnold Palmer and eating a tuna sandwich with a decent partner…teeth cleaned, taxes paid and life as smooth as silk?

        No. And you never will.

        • My first therapist said that addicts/alcoholic always end up in one of 3 ways: 1) they quit, 2) they go to prison, or 3) they die.

          • That’s right. And this may sound horrible, but for what the cheating son of a bitch addict did to me, I hope he suffers everyday of his disgusting, rotten life.

            Not very Zen of me, but I mean it.

            Another point, salient and critical point to remember about addict/drinkers is this:

            They are not in pain. The bring you to your knees pain we felt when we discovered the double life? They don’t feel it. They are high. They are zoning, checked out, euphoria saturated….if they have their poison. We are just a mirage in the distance, who nags and fucks up their high

            While we are washing the dishes, cleaning out the parakeet cage, schlepping elderly parents and children to appointments, they are giggling with their mouth open and acting like gutter rats.

            It is like cheating on steroids. Fuck a real job! I want to party and get my freak on. There could be no worse parent or parent. A dead body would be a trade up.

  • Perish the thought that I post about science again, but when the topic of childhood adversity/endangerment keeps coming up, it seems silly not to use the knowledge that we have to help change the system. We can rant and rave all day long on CL, and document until our fingers are red and raw, but why wouldn’t we put in the effort to change the system using the science we already have?

    If we KNOW that childhood adversity (abuse and neglect, parental addiction, parental mental health issues, parental incarceration, etc.) are detrimental to children, wouldn’t it be worth it to have every single psychologist, GAL, family court judge, child protective service, and everyone out there who is involved in determining what is in the “best interests of the children” aware of the facts? Anecdotes are great, personal stories are gut-wrenching, but with facts we have a chance to change the system and the laws. Let’s be the squeaky wheels. Let’s not bury our children or create laws named after them when it’s too late.

    I am in no way condemning single parents. I would guess that many do a bang up job of raising children as best they can, considering the circumstances. But let’s change the fucking circumstances (sorry, potty mouth infidelity anger and momma bear-ness slipping out) that children have by educating the “powers that be” that there are long-term effects from being exposed to abuse and dysfunction.

    This particular article burned my ass last week – why can’t we DO anything about this? https://100r.org/2016/12/custody-2/

    • Blessingindisguise–that article is haunting. How are professionals so inept at doing their job (with their job being to protect the child)?

      Two years of reading CL and today’s set of comments is the most disturbing, and yet most educational I have read. It should be required reading for anyone going into family law, mental health counseling, or applying for a guardian ad litem position. The list of things to fight for in the Chump Revolution just got bigger.

    • Very powerful investigative journalism story. I encourage everyone to read it.

      I think overall there is a terrible wrong-headed societal spackle about “Reconciliation” — that obscures all wrong-doing. There are no victims, there are just points of view. And anyone who behaves in a way that advocates no contact or boundaries or consequences, is “playing the victim.”

      You see this in child abuse cases (above). You see this in infidelity. And you see this in domestic violence. I commented on a story recently in the Washington Post in which a man who MURDERED his wife and left the body for his children to find — his lawyer advocated to the court that the man be allowed to “reconcile” with his children! Seriously! https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/true-crime/wp/2016/12/09/ashburn-ceo-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-murder-of-estranged-wife/?utm_term=.ce45227bc10c

      • ” think overall there is a terrible wrong-headed societal spackle about “Reconciliation” — that obscures all wrong-doing. There are no victims, there are just points of view. ” Tracy, you are spot on as usual. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    • Wow Blessing, “burning my ass” is an understatement.

      Just awful but could of so easily been prevented with prerequisites for proper training in that field for court-appointed custody evaluators, GAL, etc.

      Seems like in this case that the male evaluator made horrific recommendations in favor for the male Dad. One could only wonder if any gender-bias played a role also. The whole court system is a circus.

    • That’s horrendous! I can tell that my STBX is trying to play to this ‘mom is crazy’ defense.

      It sucks that you have to prove how fucked up these people are at the expense of the children. Its like no matter what you say, the court can say “I don’t know what their life was like before I was appointed to this case”. In my case, they wouldn’t even look at our previous court case and that Gaurdian’s reccomendations.

      oi veh, this is terrifying.

      • I wish the journalist would have printed the name of the Judge that did this to Daniel, and we could start a petition to have them removed, impeached or shamed into suicide.

        I wish the Mother (not blaming her) could have gone to a newspaper or TV station and said: A judge is giving custody of my son to a violent pediophile.

        A remedy for a cold and inert bureaucracy is attention and publicity. When you turn the lights on, the cockroaches scatter.

  • Still researching, but it looks as if 450 parents intentionally murder their own children; most of the cases involve divorcing parents each year. This is independent of those whose children die because of their own ineptitude (e.g., addiction leading to neglect or dangerous car situations).

    • I think in my case the fear is irratioal, but this is why I stayed over-seas after DDay and gave my entire life over there… the fear, what if he hurts us… if you go psychotic on drugs + impulsiveness + rage. This is my hufe fear, I need to go to therapy over, I am torn between wanting to at least visit back home (well, the area, my friends) and staying the hell away.

      Fucking sucks.

    • This is staggering Tempest. Today’s story line and posts are overwhelming me with sadness, for the kids and the spouses involved.

      It’s all just so sad that when one turns to the court for help, the courts seem to treat emotional abuse without the same tenacity as with physical abuse. And most of the time this emotional abuse escalates into physical abuse. Then it might be to late as it was with all these murdered children.

      Out of those 450 cases of murder you mention, I would imagine that almost all of them had some trail of emotional abuse along the way that was ignored. Truly sad.

      • SureChumpedALot made me think of something that happened to someone I know really, really, really well (no names).

        Public Service Announcement:

        Abused chump’s friend called police to ensure that chump was OK (not in danger at hands of abuser (husband). Police showed up, but chump was not home, so police called chump. Abused chump responded to police’s request to visit police station to describe what was happening at home. Police (detectives) told chump that they wanted to tape conversation, but never warned her that they were going to share contents with the perpetrator (abuser). (Chump is very sad that she didn’t realize that she was entering a perilous situation.) Police taped the 90-minute conversation, in which chump described physical abuse (the unexaggerated truth) by the perpetrator, her husband now abusive STBX. The police then told her that they had to tell perpetrator whole story as chump had alleged that he had hit her and had a right to know who was making allegations against him (no matter the circumstances). By telling perpetrator, police endangered abused chump and her friend.

        Some smart, cautious, kind police exist, but do NOT count on the police to protect you! Say nothing to police without your legal counsel present–even, perhaps especially, when you are innocent and you are a target of abuse.

        • Wow RockStar, thats messed up. Wow again.

          I was born in the mean streets of Chicago. At a young age it became habitual for me to not trust anyone, including police.

          Things are completely different for me now but I will never fear “taking the 5th!” Good advice.

          • I don’t trust any of them. That story does not shock me at all. Many times DV victims call the police and the police have that exasperated, what are you dumb kids up to now vibe when they arrive. The He said/She Said tone that they are mediating an 8th grade food fight.

            They don’t truly understand or care to unpack the dynamics of living with someone you are terrified of and who has probably threatened to kill you.

    • You all know my story. The court denied the supervised visitation I requested to protect my kids. Cheater ex was diagnosed as bipolar, was refusing medication, was a supposedly recovering alcoholic, and I had a restraining order against him. This was all documemted. The judge said he didn’t want to go against cheater ex’s father’s rights. That enabled cheater ex to abduct and murder my youngest son. Cheater ex killed himself about a week later in another state along with his buddy. The court system is anything but enlightened in these matters. It’s all one big crap shoot depending on which judge you get, I’m sorry to say.

      • Tessie~
        I did not know that. I am so sorry. There is nothing I can say that will make that better. I hope some grace or magic gives you peace.

      • Tessie,

        I read your story a while ago and it put my fear into words. Before that I had an uneasy feeling, but now I take that feeling very, very serous. Thank you for informing us. And so sorry for your loss, I can’t even imagine 🙁

        • Oh Tessie, we know your story, but again I am grateful to you for sharing something so painful as a warning to others. So much courage. Thank you.

      • Tessie, I’m so sorry. My goodness, two parents whose kids have died (on murdered, no less) due to the court’s giving an unfit parent custody- out of just 158 comments? The statistics are staggering. This system is so broken. Nothing I say can ease your pain, but please know my heart breaks for you. Wishing you peace.

      • Tessie,
        I am sorry that the legal system failed to protect your family. I hope that stories like yours will inspire the next generation entering the legal profession to move the system in the right direction–much more nuanced, careful, scientifically sound, and just.

  • Mine is addicted to alcohol, pot and cocaine… dont think he (regularily?) did cocaine during our time together, I kinda didnt get how bad the alcohol addiction was until after DDay, he is out of control addict now from what I hear from friends who spot him and from his own mother (she doesnt know the cocaine part).

    This is why there is 6,000 miles between us, best way to avoid co-parenting, even though it sucks giving up of my life I loved over there :/

    • I spent three years with my STBX before he relapsed on cocaine. It’s so scary. He was missing for days at a time and when he did come home he was barely recognizable. I had no idea how bad it was until then. I sincerely hope he never goes through that again and would be completely a mess if my kids had to witness it.

      • the cocaine is awful… alcohol too but the cocaine just makes it all even worse if that is possible. i think it also has a more dramatic effect on his personality.

  • “Don’t let them make their needs tiny so as not to upset the addict.”

    WHOA. Chump Lady just summed up my childhood in one sentence. My needs were so tiny that I was perfect chump-bait.

    Damn.

    Back to the OP, this sucks right now, no doubt. But please know that the karma bus will come for this guy. It’s not going to be rosy and awesome for him, no way, not forever. Take CL’s advice and keep being the sane awesome parent you are. Your hard work will pay off and shine through, I promise.

  • Oh my Clare,

    There’s so much to take in here. I’ve just begun my divorce with STBX who is a recovering cocaine addict/alcoholic. He’s been clean for several years, which is true and the only thing I believe about him anymore. We always agreed to keep alcohol out of our homes and the only parenting thing we ever agreed on was that we didn’t want to expose our kids to alcoholism or addiction.

    So it’s completely mindblowing that he started having an affair with an alcoholic, even moved her in fresh from rehab and thought she’d be a great person to replace me as wife and mom. It’s horrible living through the fear, his relapses, and now this final terrible twist.

    Everything here is so true. The courts basically give 50/50 unconditionally unless someone has actually killed one of their children. It sucks.

    The only thing I’d add is to make sure you are taking care of yourself, keeping healthy, and keeping sane. Join as many support groups as you feel comfortable with. Get help from local domestic abuse organizations, even if it was not physical abuse. Get a therapist, go to alanon, cry when you can, call people and don’t give up on yourself.

    Forgive yourself for loving this person who couldn’t love you back. Let him create whatever fucked up relationship he is going to with your kids. My STBX is blaming me for all kinds of things right now and most of them come down to him pointing out what I’m not doing for him any more. No more spackling, no more excuses or covering up. If one of the kids says “Dad’s such a douchebag” I give them a hug and listen, that’s it.

    I’ve met some amazing people in recovery, but like others have said, they have to deal with their issues to make it last.

    It can be really hard to talk to kids about all of this too, since the court tells you not to. If their safety is at risk, I tell them anyway; such as, no you can not get in a car if OW is driving. He is trying to make it seem like I’m just being crazy and jealous, so I go out of my way to do document worthy accomodating when it won’t hurt my kids; like starting an online document for a Parenting plan. Guess what, they don’t want to do that kind of work, not the actual nitty gritty parenting work. They just like how co-parenting sounds.

    • “Forgive yourself for loving this person who couldn’t love you back” was one of the hardest and most important things I had to do, after The Troubles (with my cheating, alcoholic, drug-addicted former spouse). That and to recognize that, even if I would never know if it there was real love from him for me, it was real for me. My heart goes out to anyone who is presently entangled with the chaos that can be brought into one’s life through someone suffering an addiction. You deserve better.

  • Thank you all so much.

    As for hair follicle testing, I was told by both lawyers and by the drug testing facility nearby that courts in California will never require hair follicle tests- that it’s unconstitutional. They said a parent can VOLUNTEER to do a hair follicle, but that it would never be required. Still, looking back, I wish we at least requested it, because he would have refused, and that would have been telling. Maybe. He’s so damn sparkly the judge might have given him a prize for it, who knows.

    You all had gave great advice, and I appreciate it so much. I know it’s true that he will eventually implode. In a sad way, this might be good for my kids, as they get a taste a both worlds. When they grow up and are offered drugs they can think back to what life was like at Dad’s, and do they really want that? Hopefully they’ll make the right choice.

    Thanks again, Chump Nation. You rock.

    • Meth cycles out in 72 hours. But remember, if you even have a whiff that he has meth in his car…call the police!
      I am telling you Clare…it works. I got rid of my abusive freak cheater that way. Cops have a hard on now for meth.
      Call Crime Stoppers, or go online and make a report that he is a meth user. His tag will be recorded by Vice and if he is pulled, they will search his car. Make it your goal to have him arrested for drugs.

      ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS WILL GO AWAY IF HE IS IN PRISON.

  • I thought I’d give an update for those who are in similar circumstances. There is hope. Ex continued to spiral out of control, and I finally got up the cajones to drug test him. He failed several (meth). Still, the judge refused to limit his visitation because he is not a chemist, so he couldn’t confirm that a positive was truly a positive. He paid no attention to my documentations, even though there was proof to back up some of them. He sent us back to mediation and the mediator recommended supervised visitation. The judge STILL would not budge as “drug abuse does not necessarily equal child abuse”. It took my 7-year-old son testing positive for meth for the court to finally take action. And would you believe the only consequence that prick suffered is that he now FINALLY has supervised visitation? And after he can pass a hair follicle drug test he will gradually get more and more visitation, until eventually it’s right back to 50/50? Sometimes I really hate California. Anyway, the children are safe for now, and knowing my ex it’s unlikely he will ever be able to test clean. So there is hope. But it comes after lots and lots of shit sandwiches. And the children will be forced to eat them, too. I pray that he will be out of our lives forever someday.

  • Update: Ex has had supervised visitation for over a year. He cannot pass a hair follicle drug test. He is now filing for a custody modification based on this. Literally. “I haven’t been able to pass a single hair follicle drug test in the past year, so I know they must be wrong.” This after INSISTING we switch to hair follicle, because he swore all of his positive urine tests were false. The judge is giving him an opportunity to find an “expert witness” to testify as to how he could be testing positive for methamphetamine and cocaine all the time. I wish I could afford to hire my own expert witness, but I’m stuck paying for things like food for our children. Who knows what will happen. He missed 5 straight months of visitation, and has only exercised about 20% overall. But the judge says this upcoming trial has nothing to do with that- it will literally be only about whether or not his test results are valid. Praying for the truth to come out in a mighty way.

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